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Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A new bill would give more power to Florida cities to ban single-use plastic

Posted By on Wed, Feb 6, 2019 at 5:01 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO VIA ADOBE IMAGES
  • Photo via Adobe Images
On Wednesday, state Reps. Anna Eskamani and Michael Grieco filed a bill that would remove the state's pre-emption on municipal governments that restricts their ability to ban single-use plastics and recyclable materials.

The bill, or HB6033, is a piece of House companion legislation to SB88, filed by state Sen. Linda Stewart, D-Orlando, which would remove language from state law that blocks cities and counties from implementing their own rules surrounding use of plastics and polystyrene.

"Removing the state's preemption on banning single-use plastic and polystyrene is not only the right thing to do, it's the smart thing to do," says Grieco, D-Miami-Dade, in a news release. "As a former city official myself, I believe firmly in the power of local control, alongside the importance of protecting our environment at a place-based level."

According to a study published in the journal Science, about 19.4 billion pounds of plastic waste is dumped into the ocean annually – a figure that's projected to double as the world's population density increases. And as noted in the state representatives' news release, the results vary from the smothering of coral reefs with plastic bags to turtles gagging on straws.

"Some environmental problems are tough to tackle, but this one is simple," says Eskamani, D-Orlando. "State officials often express support for small government policies, and yet we continue to allow big government policies like preemption on single-use plastic to persist. I'm proud to champion local government control and to join leaders like Gov. Ron DeSantis in setting a proactive ton for environmental protection across the state."

However, the (rightfully) negative sentiment against single-use plastic materials isn't reciprocated among other elected leaders in Florida.

Last week, state Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Howey-in-the-Hills, filed a bill that disallow local governments to ability to regulate single-use plastic straws. The proposal says "a municipality, county or other local government entity may not adopt, enforce, or implement any ordinance, rule or law that would further restrict a food service establishment from distributing single-use plastic straws to customers."

"The decision to use plastic straws should be made by citizens – not government; the decision to offer plastic should be made by the business owners – not the government," Sabatini said in a statement.

Sabatini's proposal mirrored a measure filed by state Sen. Travis Huston, R-St. Augustine.

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